Run Over – Modifying Dump Truck for New Extended

StarCityGames.com would like to welcome our newest Featured Writer to the family. We now present longtime Pro, Masters winner, and Grand Prix: Anaheim champion Ben Rubin!

There has been a little bit of discussion of Extended and Grand Prix Anaheim in relation to my”Dump Truck” deck. Tim Aten, for example, seems to grasp its strengths pretty well, while a lot of the suggestions I’ve heard from other people demonstrate a much shallower acquaintance with it. One of the more interesting questions posed is”will this deck, unhindered by the recent bannings, still be a contender?”

There has been a little bit of discussion of Extended and Grand Prix Anaheim in relation to my”Dump Truck” deck. Tim Aten, for example, seems to grasp its strengths pretty well, while a lot of the suggestions I’ve heard from other people demonstrate a much shallower acquaintance with it. One of the more interesting questions posed is”will this deck, unhindered by the recent bannings, still be a contender?” Hopefully you will find my answer to come.

First of all, it must be understood what sort of deck this is. Whereas Tinker and Goblins attempted to overpower by doing better things than the opponent, and Ponza expects to win before the opponent can set up, my deck expects not to go toe to toe with anyone. Rather, the idea is the dedicate almost all resources to disrupting them, and hope the remaining core of the deck (card drawing and Exalted Angel) will best whatever dismembered parts their game has left. As such, speed is really not an emphasis in most circumstances (hence the absence of cards like Chrome Mox and Phyrexian Negator) – especially since cards spent to speed things along mean I am both less likely to succeed in finally crippling them, and that once I’ve crippled them I may be less able to take advantage of it.

An alternative is the”Fiends deck,” which subscribes to an adage something like,”it’s not hard to knock ’em down, it’s gettin’ ’em to stay down that’s the trick!” But Fiends seems to dedicate a lot of room to keeping them down, and not a lot to getting them down in the first place (it also has Exalted Angels in the sideboard, which is pretty smelly, and Cursed Totem instead of Damping Matrix). So if it gets in a quick ‘n dirty battle with a deck like Ponza (some of you call it”Red Deck Wins” but like… what an embarrassment of a name), it will quickly become clear who’s the beatdown and who is getting beaten down.

Still, decks like Psychatog and Dump Truck (speaking of embarrassing names) might actually be unable to keep up with those rebels – so Fiends is not without merit. That said, if you get caught having to”race” an Exalted Angel or Isochron Scepter, there’s little hope for success. In my opinion, it’s worth spending your early turns giving your opponent problems, so in the later turns you won’t need as many hooligans (all those extra creatures don’t really do much more than hooliganery, right?) to mop him up.

Going into Grand Prix: Anaheim, I felt confident that I knew which decks I was going to face, and this let me play a very efficient set of disruptive tools. It just so happened that almost every deck had creatures, and almost every deck had disenchant targets; so I was rarely faced with the classic problem of having dead removal in my deck. When the bannings came along, the metagame (which was predominantly Ponza, Tinker and Psychatog, with a bit of Goblins and Rock – though some of the”Rock” decks were unusual and featured Troll Ascetic and only one Pernicious Deed) will become more diverse and, therefore, less predictable. This is certainly not a good thing for a deck like Dump Truck, which counts on allaying its opponents threats rather than creating its own.

Still, I expect Psychatog and Ponza to remain relatively unchanged (though there is some diversity in how those decks are built), and for the Rock to come back as a deck that has traditionally been okay against those decks (although it will need some dedication to consistently beat Jackal Pups and land destruction). I’ve also heard some interest in Blue/Green, a deck worth preparing for.

New DumpTruck

4 Brainstorm

2 Peek

4 Duress

2 Sicken

4 Diabolic Edict

4 Meddling Mage

2 Seal of Cleansing

4 Vindicate

4 Shadowmage Infiltrator

3 Deep Analysis

3 Exalted Angel

4 Caves of Koilos

4 Polluted Delta

4 Flooded Strand

2 Plains

2 Swamp

3 Island

3 Underground River

2 Skycloud Expanse


2 Damping Matrix

4 Chill

3 Chrome Mox

3 Tsabo’s Web

2 Massacre

1 Exalted Angel

Here is my new take on the deck. The maindeck has added a Black land to accommodate Sicken in the main and Massacre in the sideboard (which I plan to bring in against anyone playing Troll Ascetic, as well as against decks featuring Ramosian Sergeant), losing a few Disenchants and the Tsabo’s Web (Tinker is gone, after all). Creatures to Sicken include: Jackal Pup, Grim Lavamancer, Merfolk Looter, Basking Rootwalla, Ramosian Sergeant, River Boa, Birds of Paradise and Llanowar Elves – all worth killing, especially on what was once an often wasted first turn.

The more drastic changes have been made in the sideboard. With the Severance/Charbelcher decks disabled, there is no longer as much of a need, or reason, to sacrifice two cards (Vampiric Tutor) in order to get one. Of course, when I could Lobotomy their win condition or play Damping Matrix (making it impossible for them to win the game with a single draw step) to shut them down, losing two life and a card didn’t matter. Now, however, I think matches will come down to wars of attrition; and I don’t mind keeping my life total a little higher with all the Deltas, Strands, Rivers and Analyses still in there.

On a fairly tangential note, lots of people have asked me about Counterspell, Mana Leak, Cabal Therapy, and Fact or Fiction for the deck. Let me do a rundown of my opinion on each card:


Counterspell is too difficult to cast, too narrow, and too slow. This deck intends to cast spells main phase and then cope with the opponent’s threats as they come. Counterspell requires keeping mana untapped, and that’s not what this is about.

Mana Leak

Mana Leak is a bit better, in terms of ease to cast, but is often a dead card late in the game. This deck often finds itself in the later game against”control” decks which are really built for that sort of thing. Every card has to count, Mana leak doesn’t.

Cabal Therapy

Cabal Therapy is alright. It’s nice with Peek and Duress, and can occasionally be profitably flashed back, but often you will cast it and miss, and not have any interest in flashing it back. Other times you will draw it (there is a fair amount of card drawing in this deck, after all) later in the game and find it dead when you really needed a playable spell. This deck doesn’t always close ’em out, so cards need to count more later in the game.

Fact or Fiction

Fact or Fiction is less clear, and might get a spot if Deep Analysis wasn’t legal, but the comparison leaves little to be doubted. Fact or Fiction gets you a bit better than half of five cards, whereas Deep Analysis gets you four. Fact or Fiction is annulled by a single counter, Duress, or Therapy. Deep Analysis is not. The fact that FoF is an instant is of little consequence, so Analysis is better.

Now, rather than do a rundown of each sideboard card and its application, and to fill the obvious void in information about the general approach of the deck, I’m going to avoid some stages of generalizing and speak in terms of how to play each specific match-up. If anyone thinks there is an important match-up I’ve missed, email me at [email protected] and perhaps I’ll do some follow-up.


The first game is bad – very bad. They have potent, efficient threats which, although not surpassing your reactive capabilities (I’ve watched too much Star Trek), can be difficult to respond to appropriately before your life falls to zero. This is altogether complicated by their Stone Rains, Pillages, Rishadan Ports, and Wastelands, which prey on your feeble mana base. The best chance to win is to get an Shadowmage Infiltrator in play that doesn’t die to a Volcanic Hammer, and can draw you into enough removal before you die to their creatures. If it doesn’t seem plausible, that’s because it’s generally not.

Luckily sideboarding (as follows with most urban myths about sideboarding against Red decks), completely changes the match-up. The Peeks, Meddling Mages, Duresses and two Deep Analysis should be removed for the Angel, Webs, Chills, Moxes and one Damping Matrix. Suddenly you have effectively three more lands in the deck (Chrome Moxes), and seven two-mana ways to slow down their land destruction and cripple their general ability to cast spells.

Although you have powerful potential to beat them, the playout is still pretty tricky. On turn 2 you may have Chill, Tsabo’s Web, Seal of Cleansing, and Diabolic Edict in hand, staring at a Jackal Pup, Rishadan Port and Chrome Mox – what to do?

In general there are two ways to beat them after sideboard. The standard plan is to shut them out: Chill their Red spells, Seal of Cleansing their Moxes, Vindicate their lands, and play Tsabo’s Web to lock down their non-basics. This will leave them with a couple of threats that you then either kill, or match with your own creatures (hopefully a 4/5 with Spirit Linked flier) before mopping them up. If your hand seems to promote this plan, attack their mana first and their creatures second; of course if you do it in the reverse order, your Chills and Webs are much less effective because they have already cast all of their spells.

If their draw is very fast, particularly when you are not going first (game 3), you may have to spend your removal before dropping Chill or Web. In this case, you may have to abandon hopes of shutting out all but their most expensive spells (Blistering Firecat, for example, can be slowed down a lot). Chill is also useful at making Cursed Scroll clunky, and your Angels and Infiltrators more tiresome to burn-out. But let them assume a secondary role to just stabilizing the board with your removal. Of course, this is not the best scenario, because obviously their threats are very fast and you’ve only got so many creature removal spells.


I would expect to see Tog in the form of Blue/Black/Red, perhaps playing one Upheaval, but generally relying on Psychatog and Isochron Scepter to win. This match-up is very interesting, because you are in a sense both proactive and reactive. Obviously you can play creatures which are necessary to deal with; but you must also look out for Psychatogs which can take advantage of all of the life-sacrificing Dumptruck does, and Isochron Scepter, which can give them the game, if a card-drawing spell is imprinted and used repeatedly.

This is a match-up where knowing their hand is obviously enormous. If, however, you don’t know their hand, Meddling Mage for Fire / Ice, as it is generally their most plentiful answer to a 2/2. Next I’d Mage their other creature removal spell (Smother or whatever) and after that, Cunning Wish. Duress (which often ought to be slow-rolled until they have used their Brainstorm), on the other hand, should usually take Fact or Fiction. It is the card that gets them to their Accumulates and makes Psychatog potentially lethal. Remember they can Wish for Corpse Dance if you tap out, or are relying on Vindicate to kill Tog. They can also ‘Heave, then drop the ‘Tog (although that is less likely), so later in the game, it’s often worth using Vindicates on Togs in play, and saving instant-speed removal.

As far as Vindicate and Seal of Cleansing, it is always tempting, and often correct, to attack their mana (Seal can sometimes kill Chrome Mox). However, I would generally advise against doing this unless you have seen their hand and know it will cripple them, or are going to have a lot more cards than them via Infiltrator or Deep Analysis (in which case, you probably have extras in case an Isochron Scepter or Tog slips through).

Sideboarding plays the same way, and works even better after replacing the Sickens and an Edict with Damping Matrixes and an Angel. Obviously, the Matrix is crippling, and means you can be more aggressive with Vindicates and Seal of Cleansings.

Rock or Semi-Rock

In the Grand Prix, I played Gabe Walls, sporting a deck that looked like the Rock, but was really more like Green/Black beatdown with a bunch of artifact removal. In particular, he had the extremely annoying Troll Ascetic, and mopped me up with him game 1. Games 2 and 3, however, we found out that he had only three answers (along with a few tutors) for my Exalted Angels, which race Trolls easily. Between Duress and Meddling Mage, I was able to protect an Angel one game, and in the other, he simply didn’t draw an answer. Should you run into such a deck, that’s the way to win.

I would guess that Rock, in more traditional builds, will come back and be popular. Interestingly, they are often the aggressors, but it’s often only a matter of quelling their (often limited) offense before you win the game. Meddling Mage should often name Pernicious Deed, if you are going to play another creature, or it can name Troll Ascetic if you know they have that and no creature removal in hand. After all the cards are played out, they generally can’t match Deep Analysis, Shadowmage Infiltrator and Exalted Angel, covered by Duress and Meddling Mage.

Sideboarding depends on their configuration. Against a version without Trolls, bring in the Angel and Webs for Seals and two of the Duresses. If they have Trolls, the last Duresses should be replaced my Massacres. Of course this leaves Meddling Mage weaker, but he’s still quite fine to play before an Exalted Angel or Infiltrator, to protect them from both Deed and Edict.

This brings up the question of whether to play Angel Morphed, or to wait to get her face up where she is harder to Deed and can’t be Smothered. Unless you know they play Smother, I’d ignore that possibility and worry most about Deed. So if you have no Mage in play and don’t know whether or not they have Deed, you should probably wait on the Angel.

Of course, if you are going to be drawing a lot of cards with Deep Analysis, she is more dispensable (because you are likely to find a replacement, and can’t afford to miss the chance to get back the tempo lost by casting Deep Analysis). Also, if you have more than one Angel, you don’t want to get caught with both by a Therapy, so get one play. Though I was originally skeptical about this match-up, I’ve found it to be quite favorable, especially once Webs are shutting down Dustbowls and Treetop Villages (even if only until the next Deed).

U/G Madness

This match-up, I hate to say, is very difficult. Their men are faster, heavier, and produced more efficiently. They have countermagic, card drawing, and even fast mana through Chrome Mox. Of course, there is a lot that G/U has trouble with… but none of it is in DumpTruck. My sideboarding plan is to remove the Seals and three Duresses for the Moxes and Matrixes. If you are going to see a lot of Wild Mongrels and Careful Studies, opt for a different deck!

There are of course other match-ups, for which there are lots of resources in this new list. Still, there is plenty of room to adjust based on your style, comforts, metagame, etc.. Good luck.